U2 star Bono talks to Irish rugby team about 'what it means to be Irish and what's special about it'

Bono's voice has bewitched millions of people the world over across four decades now but none seem to have been so rapt as the Irish rugby players who hung on his every word this week.

U2 star Bono talks to Irish rugby team about 'what it means to be Irish and what's special about it'

Bono's voice has bewitched millions of people the world over across four decades now but none seem to have been so rapt as the Irish rugby players who hung on his every word this week.

The U2 frontman was a special guest at the team's Kildare HQ on Tuesday night and head coach Andy Farrell was thrilled with the evening ahead of his side's crunch Six Nations meeting with England in London this Sunday.

“First of all, we were blown away really that he gave his time up to come over and see us,” said the new Ireland boss. “We invited him in, he was top of the wish list, which was unbelievable really.

“He put a lot of time and effort into it as well. He is quite a private person really but he put a lot of time and effort into being able to answer the questions from the floor in a great manner that we got something out of.

He is obviously a proud Irish man, so he talked a bit about Irishness.

Farrell has made great play about the team's identity since succeeding Joe Schmidt after last year's World Cup.

He has spoken about the experience of being on the English team that was beaten so convincingly by Ireland at Croke Park back in 2007 and he has tasked his team with delivering the same blend of intensity and passion and grit.

“Faz wants to give us a sense of our identity,” said Jacob Stockdale who, like so many of the current team, is far too young to remember U2 in their mega-stadium, multi-million album-selling prime.

“He is doing that through our training but also through things like speaking to Bono and last night he talked about Irishness, what it means to be Irish and what's special about it. That's definitely something that Faz is bringing in and something we as a team are really buying in to. It is quite exciting.”

Many has been the celebrity ushered into the private sanctum that is the Irish national squad. Roy Keane, Rory McIlroy, Sonia O'Sullivan, Henry Shefflin and Padraig Harrington have been among them. Christy Moore has played for them too.

Bono sang too, but only briefly.

“It was just cool to hear him talk about his life experiences and how he views the world,” said Conor Murray. “You realise what he has done outside of music and in terms of charity and the people he has dealt with politically.

“He's just a huge personality and it was unbelievable to hear him speak. Unbelievably intelligent and a well-articulated guy. It was just a really cool evening.”

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